Dec 30, 2016

December's Numbers

10 books
(AVG Rating: 2.9 stars*)

3 graphic novels, 1 short story, 2 non-fiction, 3 DNFs, and 1 AWESOME cyberpunk.

This month got me back on the reading train (sort of) and hopefully will be a portent of things to come in 2017.

*The average rating was dragged all the way down by those three DNFs. It’s 4.14 without them.

29,166-words in 22days
(AVG: 1,326-words/day)
4 projects + admin

I’d say I’m proud of my focus this month, but if you do the full count, 2/3rds of that count is from admin which is kind of the epitome of a lack of focus. Blog posts like this one, outlines and pitches, some of my business mail, any random bit of writing notes jotted down on my phone while grocery shopping… It’s all stuff I need to get done, but when I see that much orange on a spreadsheet with so little in the way of other writing, I do the scrunchy-face scowl at it.

I suppose I can feel proud of the editing I’ve gotten done. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve no doubt seen the posts here and there of the book I’m slowly gutting. At the moment I think I’m averaging 20 minutes a page… so it’s definitely a long haul.

This is the last of my accounting posts for the year, next up, I’ll have a breakdown of what 2016 looked like as a whole with those fun counts and graphs and what not. You’ll have to forgive me for posting only numbers in that one, as a look back at everything else would have me lighting matches and thinking thoughts of the apocalypse.

So yeah, check back Monday to see what I did, how I failed myself, and all that fun jazz. But for now…

Meet me in the desert after midnight, bring extra gasoline, and let’s burn this year down to ashes.

Dec 1, 2016

November’s Numbers

0 Books

Hey look at that, I finished no books this month. That feels like a first.
It’s also a teensy bit of a lie. More accurately, I finished no NEW books. I did a lot of reading of things i’ve already read for fun and profit research. Those don’t count, however, so we’re stuck with that big, fat zero!

78,180-words in 26 days
(Avg 3007-words/day)
7 projects + admin

As you’ll notice, I front loaded this month quite a bit. With the exception of last year (which came about for specific reasons) December is always a difficult writing month for me. There is SO MUCH going on in other parts of my life that I’m easily distracted (more so than normal) and that reflects in my counts.

Also this month, I took a week off and did the full-time author thing wherein I shut myself away for 8 hours a day and focused on nothing but writing in that time (I realize there’s a lot more to being full-time, but as I’m not actually, I used it for my own nefarious purposes). I managed to pop out just over 40,000 words. Yay! This experiment also reminded me that Thursdays are still awful no matter where I am.
The other reason this month is front heavy, is that I did NaNo again. My way, again: finishing one ms and getting the bulk of a novella dealt with (yay we’re in edits).

I have a feeling December is going to be for editing and plot bunnies. Fingers crossed I can keep myself on track even while sorting through the obligatory christmas nonsense.

Nov 1, 2016

October's Numbers

5 Books
(Avg GR Rating: 3.6)

A Fool For You | Shades of Milk and Honey | Inca Gold
Hold Me | Something Wicked This Way Comes

This month’s reading started off with a book I was so disappointed in, I cancelled 2 preorders from its author. Who knows, maybe I’ll reorder them at some point, but it’s one of those things where I don’t feel like I can trust the author anymore and I have a feeling it’s going to take me a while to get over that. (This is a third strike, btw. There were two others that left me feeling iffy, but this one pushed me over that proverbial edge.)

After that, it was a book I’ve been meaning to read forever, a book I reread after 17 years, one I’ve been waiting ages for, and one that seemed fitting for Halloween.

I started a non-fiction work too, but didn’t manage to get through it this month.

60,048-words in 23 days
(Avg 2,610-words/day)

The third full week of this month was the most consistent I’ve had all year. Unfortunately, that consistency didn’t start or end the month. Better than 4 months this year, and better than the Novembers of 2014 &15, so I’m not too upset about that.

I worked on 6 projects (outside of admin) which is a little bit more focused than I have been this year.


Oct 1, 2016

September’s Numbers

2 books
(Avg GR Rating: 4.5)

An Indecent Proposal by Katee Robert|  Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

This was another one of those months were I had to forcibly find the time to read. Between doing ALL THE THINGS in our new place and spending a week with friends I already ignored an hour each day to get my writing in… the month was not one that was conducive to getting much of anything done, if I’m honest.

32,463-words in 24 days
(Avg 1352-words/day)

While this was possibly my most consistent month ever, the numbers were low each day. This marks my smallest monthly word count all year! I’ll have to do better next month.
I surpassed the yearly totals for 2013 & 14 this summer, so I’m not very upset about the low numbers, I’m simply annoyed with the fact I didn’t reach my goal of 40k (which still would have been the smallest).

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Sep 1, 2016

August Numbers/September Goals

In Real Life:
I am moving right now. Literally, as you read this, I am schlepping boxes… assuming you’re reading it the day it posts.

Anyway, that means I’ve spent most of the month doing a fun dance around boxes and with my brain half scattered around the room.

13 books
(Avg GR Rating 3.53)

Hey look! I managed to get in my best number since February.
This month’s reading tally consisted of:
8 Full Novels
2 Graphic Novels
2 Short Stories

Goal:  4 books. Met.

84,074-words in 30 days
(AVG 2,802-words/day)


This month was a little more consistent in daily word count than last month but definitely didn’t see any better focus. (10 projects is not any better than 11)

The dip in the middle of the month was brought to you by edits that I’m STILL not done with. The structural edit on that book went in a snap, so I should have known the full edit was going to be like pulling a snail’s teeth.

And I’m going to blame that edit for missing my w/c goal.

Goal: 90,000-words. Not Met.

Did I mention I was moving and in the shuffle a certain deadline was missed which shoved everything else back?

Goal: 1 Book. Not Met

Reading – 5 books
At present all but 2 of my books are packed up in boxes (and those two are books I bought when I realized I had nothing to read!*). Between digging all the books out, reshelving and organizing, I don’t know that I’ll have much opportunity to get to the  TBR list in my “already owned” books until after I get back from vacation (which only leaves me 5 days) so we’ll see how this goes!

Writing – 40k words
I’ve only got 15 dedicated writing days this month (thanks to the move and a vacation with friends I’ve been looking forward to for almost a year). As such, I’m dropping my goal. I’m a semi-rational person after all.

Publishing – 1 Book
Remember how I didn’t get Oath Breaker out on time. Yeah… she’ll be available soon.
*It worked out in my favor, I suppose.
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Aug 1, 2016

July Numbers/ August Goals

In Real Life:
We found out in the middle of July that the place we’ve been trying to move into for a year is finally ours! Which is great… but it also means that there’s a lot of packing and nonsense going on that has the potential to mess up my writing mojo for the next three months. I’m going to spin this to the positive side (in my head) for now and hope I can keep momentum up otherwise.


4 Books
(Avg GR Rating 3)

Technically a cheat, I met this month’s goal by reading 2 novellas right there at the end and a 2 DNFs earlier this month.

It’s always depressing when you think you might like a plot line only to find that it’s poorly written and you have to toss the book away. 

Goal: 3 Books. Met!

87,175-words in 30 days
(AVG 2905-words/day)

Focus was not my friend this month, at least not at the end. I got those 87k words in (if we exclude the random admin stuff) writing on 11 different projects!

Several days this week, my work schedule had me up at 3 and in the office by 4:30. And while that (oddly) made getting high word counts pretty easy, early mornings aren’t great for me being aware enough that I can get through the patch-work I’m doing on my priority #1 ms. Hopefully, the next two weeks will change that.

The unfortunate fact is… I didn’t pay attention throughout the month, and sort of forgot that I needed 90k. So I was working toward 85… which I met. Oops! Guess I’ll have to make it up.

Goal: 90,000 words. Not Met.


I took another break but August has a fun one for you.

Goal: Take a break. Met.



Reading – 4 books
And this time, I plan to get 4 full length novels that are finished in. If I have more DNFs or Novellas, great! But I’m going to try to drag myself out of my reading slump without cheating.

Writing – 90k words
And this time, I’ll be sure to write down this goal in my monthly spreadsheet, so I don’t lose track of myself again.
I’ve got 40k words earmarked for completion this month on one project, so it’s just a matter of finding the other 50!

Publishing – 1 Book
My next book comes out August 22nd! If you want to read the first chapter, sneak a peek at my July Newsletter (and sign up for future previews).
Oath Breaker is the first in the Death of Empire series.

Other –
Pretty sure I’ve talked about this before, but 2013 was a banner year for word count (1 million!) but it left me with a stack of finished manuscripts that were hastily written and in need of “floor-to-ceiling” edits. I’ve been avoiding those—which is a shame. So toward the end of last month, I pulled out the one I believe is closest to being “done” and started editing. My hope is to have her cleaned up enough to send her off to the next part of my process by the end of August…. We’ll see what happens.

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Jul 1, 2016

June Numbers/July Goals

In Real Life:

June started off with a bang (or a bash?) Comicon was the 2nd through the 5th, and as with last year, it was just a ton of fun. Got to meet up with some friends I made last year, found a few authors who’s books have now landed in my TBR list, harassed my tattoo artist (right leg), went to a screening of a friend’s short film and just had a ton of fun.

And then, it got quiet.

Since we recently bought a car, we’ve gone on a spending hiatus. Honestly, I want to pay that sucker down as quickly as possible and refinance. It’s not like the expense is huge… I just don’t like bills in general, and the more I can lower them, the better. On top of that, it’s just been really nice to stay in, get work done in the evenings, snuggle my ewok and enjoy my husband’s company. (after 7 years, you’d think we’d be tired of each other (at least that’s what people keep telling me).

Since it gets so hot here from May through September, I’m looking forward to another few months of not going out in the heat unless I have to. On top of the 110+ degree weather, we’re in to monsoon season which means rain! An awesome thing to watch… from inside, with the aircon on. Humidity is not my friend.

1 book
(AVG GR Rating 0)

I feel like I’ve been running around like a madman. The only books I read this month were rereading things for research purposes. Nothing new, nothing to mark down, aside from my latest book.
Goal: 10 books. Not met.

84,584-words in 23 days
(AVG 3677-words/day)

One of my “goals” this month was to work on my focus. I managed that pretty well. Aside from Admin stuff (orange), I only worked on 4 projects. Two of those were edit related.

The beginning of the month was a rough patch. Between comicon and some heavy edits, my daily numbers were low, but I made up for them with the end of the month. Overall, I’d call this the best writing month I’ve had all year, even if it didn’t hold the highest word count (that honor is still held by April)
Goal: 75,000 words. Met


1 book

My June release came out on Tuesday. The fourth in my Clockwork Fairytales series, Jack & the Mechanical Beanstalks is a fun almost-Frankenstein-y retelling of Jack & the Beanstalk (never say!). Unlike the first three in the series, no familiar characters show up and it could be treated as a stand-alone (though none of them require that you’ve read any of the other books first)
Goal: Jack & the Mechanical Beanstalks. Met.  
Reading – 3 books
So last month, I made the decision to slash my book goal for the year in half. Now I only need to get 50 books under my belt. I did this for a few reasons.

1) I know myself well enough to understand that keeping the 100 book goal now that it’s improbable I’ll hit it is just going to result in bad things.
2) Related to #1, I’ve accepted the fact that this is a part of my self-care that outweighs my desire to beat myself at everything.
3) Less stress means I’m more likely to pick up a book.
4) Who cares how many books I read in a year, really?

Writing – 90,000
The goal might be lofty, but I’m confident I can make it (especially given the next goal). In 2013, I managed to get over 94k—which wasn’t even my best moth of that year—and I’m always good at pushing myself to finish goals. I’m a completionist, after all.

Publishing – Another break
I’m wrapping up a book I plan to release in August and some fun little things I’ll be putting up for free in September, so I’m taking July to get the first finished and the bulk of the second taken care of as well.

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Jun 1, 2016

May Numbers/April Goals

In Real Life:

I had a SUPER minor surgery on my arm. They pulled out three chunks of run-away fatty tissue. The lipomas were in the exact same spot as one my mom had decades ago. Hers was removed by a dermatologist… mine was pulled out by a plastic surgeon. I am still chuckling about that. Aside from medical stuff (yay neurology follow up), we had an interesting month.
The dog had some teeth pulled. I’m not sure who was in more pain, her… or my wallet.

I got a new tattoo. Slowly filling up my right leg (emphasis on the slowly) Jason put a banjo on my shin, using my own as reference.

We bought a new car and promptly took it on a single day road trip. There were dirt roads, fire crews, and giant squirrels. Also, a few strange looks from people in off-road vehicles.

And, I found an app that makes my life SO much easier. It’s a productivity app that helps me remember the important daily tasks I tended to forget.

6 books
(AVG GR Rating 2.66)

Three of the books were duds, and only one got a 5-star. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing them yet, but it’s on my June list.
Goal: 10 books. Not met

71,723-words in 22 days
(AVG 3,260-words/day)

Considering the fact that the highest percentage of words this month came from the “miscellaneous” category… I definitely didn’t get the “focus” I wanted. But words are words, and I got a lot done on the things I wanted to focus on (if not everything).
Goal: 65,000 words. Met

No Books. So, exactly where I meant to be.
Goal: Take a break…. Pretty sure I met that one.

Reading – 10 books
I’m starting to feel like a broken record with this one. But I’ve got several titles I’m excited about and a few that I just HAVE to get through.

Writing – 75,000
I have a rewrite to do which should go quickly and get me over half of those words, so I’m pretty confident I’ll manage that number. And that will make it the best June in the past 4 years.

Publishing – 1 Book
Jack & the Mechanical Beanstalks will be out at the end of this month! I’m excited for you to read Jack and Orla’s book and see how I played with the original story line.

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May 1, 2016

April Numbers/May Goals

In Real Life:
April was pretty tame in the real life department. I got new glasses, I spent a lot of time trying to remember what day of the week it was, and basically just forgetting ALL THE THINGS. 

1 book

So, this is kind of a cheat. The only book I logged on GoodReads this month was my own. And since I don't rate my books, the average is a big fat zero.

89,937-words in 21 days
(AVG 4,282-words/day)

This month I played with seven different projects. Most of my focus went into two main books and the others were writing to clear the cobwebs out of my head. 

I finished one draft, sent a different one off to beta readers, and made some good progress on two others.

Iron Heinrich dropped last week. It's the 3rd in my Clockwork Fairytales series, and was tons of fun to write. 

Reading - 10 books.
As I'm cutting back on some other things, I plan to make time specifically for reading. Frankly, I miss it.

Writing - 65,000-words
I still have deadlines to meet and books to finish, so I'll be trying to keep my normal pace again with some extra weekend work.

Publishing - Take a break.
I have nothing scheduled for release this month and that is pretty great. Going to focus on the June release and getting the things beyond that in line.

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Apr 25, 2016

Creating a Map of Your World: Part Four

We're at the end of this series, I hope you enjoyed it so far... but let's get to the end, because its about time, am I right?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

When you're playing with a world that is just HUGE, you may need to embiggen bits and pieces of it to give a zoomed in map of a specific area.

If you can scan the full map in, awesome. If you can't, you can do it the way I did and use a picture of the big map. Then it's just a matter of cropping and resizing. et Voila!

Repeat one of the first steps
If you recall from part two, the easiest way (imo) to transfer your coast lines, etc to a fresh piece of paper is by making those lines prominent with a dark marker and then busting out your light table/pad.

Add in the Particulars
This is a step that is going to depend entirely on you. I myself have one map that requires the embiggenment because of the need for itty bitty details. So here, you use the rough outline from your big map to place the features of your country/kingdom/city... etc.

Have fun with it. You can look at other maps and see what they did, or just make up whatever you want.

Clean up the evidence
Again, this depends on you. Cleaning up could be erasing all evidence of your land features from the big map, it could mean setting the features there, or on the zoom-ins, in ink, it could be that final coloring process. Finishing steps are pretty unique to you after this point.

Hope you've enjoyed this series! Happy writing, and even happier map making!!!

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Apr 22, 2016

7 Careers You Should Consider Instead of Writing

Experimental Drug Test Subject – You like the stories that play out in your head? You are going to LOVE the side-effects of our newest acne treatment! Early tests show that our side effects include in-depth hallucinations. Want to talk to the most conscientious wall you’ve ever encountered? How about learning what it’s like to have the floor really be lava! Best part! It’s legal drug use! (Other side effects include: Explosive diarrhea, suicidal behavior, pica, an intense urge to insert non-metallic objects into… well, unfortunate places.)

This is obviously preferable to writing because you’ll get to explore the minds inside your head and have your memories altered!

IRS Auditor – No one likes the IRS (I mean, at best, we’re apathetic to them). Make your mark on the world by starting a career in a profession that is understaffed, over stressed and spends most of the year in a mad dash to keep up with the ever changing laws in their own workplace.

Chances are, you’re going to write a book someone hates (especially if those someones are fanboys). Why not make that possibility a 100% sure thing?


Monkey Poop Flinging Target – Wake up every morning, put on your best zoo frock, head down to the cages and wait until the shit flies. Monkey feces aren’t all that bad, right? I mean this way you get all the humiliation and annoyance without having to do any of the thinking! Am I right?

One of the strangest things about success in the writing world is that once you hit a certain point (earnings wise) people start to come out of the woodwork to let you know you don’t deserve that success, why bother waiting around to hit that mark?


Troll Troller – You were going to be sitting at a desk anyway. Put your ideas to work in a cathartic way of becoming worse than rest of the comment section in the best possible way. Be the Deadpool of the online forums. The bad guy who fights the badder guys and more or less helps out the good guys. Let’s face it, someone needs to put them in their place. Why not you?

If you’re going to take a stand on anything in your social media dealings, you’re going to find yourself on the business end of a troll’s bad spelling. Why bother doing the work when you can skip that step and hop on someone else’s trolls to fight back?


Professional Line-up Guy – How hard is this? You stand in a row of five other people every once in a while, chat up the police sergeant while he’s trying to do his filing and get to complain about the sad excuse for coffee the precinct has to suffer through. I mean the fact that you’ll be picked out as the perpetrator of a triple homicide on your first casual Friday kinda sucks.

Prison life wouldn’t be so bad, right? I mean, you’ll make new friends, you’ll get to use your Netflix knowledge to your advantage… it’ll be great!


Used Mattress Salesman – You’ll spend your days convincing people to ignore the lumps and stains, trying to assure them that your prices are very reasonable. Don’t worry about the spring poking through that, we can sell you a foam pad to go on top for another $20.

Selling something no one seems to want is always easier when you understand why they don’t want it. Don’t bang your head against the wall looking at novel sales numbers. Learn to wheel and deal the old fashioned way. In-your-face pressure is a GREAT motivator. So is Fear. When you casually mention that most people buy your wares as a method of disposing bodies….


Jelly Fish Cuddler – Who doesn’t want a hundred stinging tentacles wrapped around them? I mean, the health care is better than self-employment and the recovery periods are like having 200+ days of vacation a year. So what if you have to spend them in the hospital. And haven’t you noticed how illustrations of jelly fish are always so cute? They just want some lovin’ the least you can do is give them a hug.

The fact that you’re working for a corporate-owned aquarium that is basically sucking the life out of you shouldn’t be a concern. After all, you could have the life sucked out of you in so many other ways. And, no one’s going to give you a bad review that has nothing at all to do with your work.


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Apr 18, 2016

Creating A Map Of Your World: Part 3

This is a four part series, so hop back and check last week’s if you haven’t already and come back for parts three and four!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Create Borders
If you’re working on a large scale (creating a continent or a whole planet) you’ll want to create borders for your different countries, kingdoms, realms etc.

If you’re working with something with a historical vibe, your borders will usually follow some sort of geological formation, and they usually won’t be straight. Maps for “newer” civilizations will very likely have straight lines based on things like longitude and latitude, or walls/fences.

Ink Outline
At this point, since you’ve got everything figured out place wise. It’s a good thing to set the lines with ink. I’ve used sharpies or G2 pens to do this most often. Fine-point felt pens are also a good option.

Rough Draft Geographical features
This is a step you can skip. Sometimes, you just aren’t going to have any. Or they’re not important enough to the story to go into any detail with.

In this instance, I needed to get a rough idea about a few specific forests, and some specific mountains. I still need to add a table rock, a coral reef, and several rivers, but this is the start.


Add Color
This is a fun part. You can add color in lots of ways. For this map, I chose to use watercolor. For another, I’ll be using colored pencil (that’s largely a decision made based on the weight of my paper).

Color it how you want to. As for me, I’ve made the forest mainland green the water blue (who’d have thought) and the sand bars brown, while settling on gray for the crowded island city.

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